Former ICCC student appears on ‘Idol’
Poppe moving on to Hollywood
A former Iowa Central Community College student is pursuing a career in music and has advanced to Hollywood on the popular television show American Idol.
Maddie Poppe, 20, of Clarksville, sings and plays guitar, ukulele and keyboard.
“I am a singer-songwriter, kind of folk, a little country,” she said. “I am not pop or super country.”
Poppe attended Iowa Central in 2016 to study graphic design.
“I wanted to see what it was like to be away from home for a year,” Poppe recalled. “I loved the school and everything about it, but I just couldn’t be that far away from home.”
She added, “I really missed my family.”
During her college visits, she said Iowa Central stood out.
“I did some different college visits and I went to Iowa Central and it was just really awesome,” she said. “They offer everything that a four-year does. It felt kind of like a university. It didn’t feel like a community college, and I really liked that.”
She added, “I met a lot of awesome people over there. I was sad to leave, but I knew that I wanted to be closer to my family.”
Poppe transferred to Hawkeye Community College in 2017 where she studied digital mass media.
Then, near the end of summer 2017, she was informed by her dad about auditions for American Idol taking place in Omaha, Nebraska.
“Being in Iowa it’s really hard to pursue music seriously because it’s not LA or Nashville,” she said, “and so I try to take every opportunity that comes my way. Once he said the auditions were coming back, I thought it would be cool to audition. I grew up watching the show.”
Her dad inspired her to take up music as a child.
“When we were a lot younger my dad had us sing Christmas songs and he would make it into a CD and send it to our grandparents,” Poppe recalled. “I did a lot of singing around the house. My dad has always been in bands growing up, so I would get up and play with him occasionally.”
It was her sister, though, who pushed her to perform in front of a live audience.
“It all kind of started when my sister was singing in a talent show, and she asked me if I wanted to sing with her,” Poppe said. “I really didn’t want to, but I felt like I should. My dad and her were both encouraging me to do it, so I did.”
Poppe was surprised when the audience reacted favorably.
“I got a really good response from the crowd, and so I thought this might be fun to do,” she said.
Poppe was 14 years old at the time.
Since her audition in Omaha, Nebraska, in the summer, Poppe auditioned in Chicago, Illinois.
“I really like playing “The Rainbow Connection’,” she said. “That’s the song I auditioned with. I love writing too. I haven’t written anything in a really long time, nothing has really come to me, but I love writing my own stuff.”
Now Poppe and about 170 others from across the country are in Hollywood to display their musical talents in front of a panel of three judges.
“I did get the golden ticket to Hollywood and they said Hollywood week would start Monday,” Poppe said.
Poppe said she is taking her spring semester of college off to pursue her passion.
“It’s really the only thing that I have really been good at,” she said. “I really don’t want to pursue anything else or do anything else. I don’t think I could ever stop doing it or walk away.”
Poppe will be featured in the first episode of Hollywood Week today.